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New Zealand: Rare
Importation: pre 1910

Lincoln Red Cattle

A Rare Breed of British Origin

Lincoln Red cattle
Lincoln Red cattle (Photo by Lynn Smith)

      The Lincoln Red breed was developed in Lincolnshire on the east coast of England from crosses between local cattle with Durham Shorthorn bulls in the late 18th to early 19th centuries. The breed was originally called the Lincolnshire Red Shorthorn, a name which survived well into the twentieth century.

      It is a large, efficient, and early-maturing breed with a deep ‘cherry’ red coat. The cows are hardy, calve easily and have a plentiful supply of milk. They have a gentle, docile nature.

      The eleventh edition of Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1911, noted that “The Lincolnshire Red Shorthorns are the best dual-purpose cattle for milk and meat that possess a pedigree record, in the United Kingdom, and their uniform cherry red colour has brought them into high favour in tropical countries, for crossing with the native breeds.”

Lincoln Red cow
Lincoln Red cow (Photo by Lynn Smith)

      Until the 1940s, the Lincoln Red was considered to be a dual-purpose animal, but by the 1980s it had become a specialist beef breed. During this period, too, a polled strain was developed by crossing with Aberdeen Angus bulls. And as with a number of traditional breeds, some infusion from Continental breeds (particularly the Maine Anjou) has been permitted in an attempt to ‘improve’ its beef qualities.

      It is not clear when they first came into New Zealand, though it is likely to have been in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. A New Zealand herd book was in operation by 1919, the main breeder at that time being William Taylor of Te Awamutu.

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